Luxury Lifestyle

Even the flowers at Rolls-Royce are bespoke: Inside the creation of the Phantom Rose

The rose blooms at Rolls-Royce headquarters in Goodwood, West Sussex, England.

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Spring brings about a sense of renewal and rebirth. Lambs are born in the countryside as grass grows tall and bees begin buzzing around gardens full of flowers. In Goodwood, West Sussex, England, a very special rose blooms.

The Phantom Rose is a bespoke rose with a storied history, a theme that runs parallel with the super luxury auto brand whose headquarters the flower calls home - Rolls-Royce.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Rose Harkness Rose floral nursery worked for eight years to perfect the bespoke rose.Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Philip Harkness, a British horticulturalist and rose breeder bred the Phantom Rose especially for the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective. Harkness is of the Harkness Rose floral nursery in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, which is renowned for having developed and bred several types of roses, having won gold at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show more than 25 times in the last 50 years.

The fresh breed of rose was commissioned by Rolls-Royce. Upon commissioning, Rolls-Royce Bespoke Designer Sina-Maria Eggl, commented, "The rose had to embody Rolls-Royce's poise, elegance and allure. The result was a very pure, delicate but voluminous white flower: sensual, but strong in presence, with an alluring aroma and extra winter durability."

It took eight years for Harkness to develop. It was, he says, a labour of love. "A rose has the ability to captivate you on many levels. It is a thing of beauty, it can stimulate the senses with wonderful perfume, the soft touch of the petals or the rasping pain from a thorn. It touches our emotions, signifies love and appears in some of our finest poetry."

Rolls-Royce describes the Phantom Rose as, "a blousy, creamy-white flower, offering a full bloom of 50 petals and a rich perfume."

Phantom Rose Phantom's Gallery Design Process

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The rose snow grows in a specially designed bed, fringed with lavender, that runs alongside the reflection ponds adjacent to the marque's Sir Nicholas Grimshaw plant. Rolls-Royce associates designers can view the rose bed through the plant's floor-to-ceiling glass as they work.

The bed is very near where Rolls-Royce's bee operation is housed.

In 2017, Rolls-Royce undertook a one-off design for Phantom's Gallery featuring the rose. The Gallery is protected by an uninterrupted piece of glass that spans the width of the Phantom and is backlit. Stems of the rose were flown to master artisans from world-renowned porcelain manufacturers in Nymphenburg, Germany where they were examined in various stages from bud to bloom. The artisans crafted white porcelain versions of the rose in a process that took three months.

More recently, the Phantom Rose served as an inspiration for a million-stitch Rose Phantom, which featured embroidered flowers throughout the cabin of the vehicle. Learn more about the creation of the Rose Phantom by watching the short film below.

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Rolls-Royce is custom-building 1:8 scale replicas of its SUV.

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The best things come in the smallest packages. Rolls-Royce is now offering a 1:8 scale replica of their Cullinan SUV, created with the same level of craftsmanship as the full-size version.

Rolls-Royce says that the replica is more than "a mere model". It has every detail reproduced "with absolute perfection" according to a release.

The company produces each of the miniatures by hand. They feature over 1,000 individual components and putting them together perfectly takes up to 450 hours. That's over half the time it takes to put together a full-size Cullinan.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan 1:8 Replica

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, commented, "This scale replica brings a new dimension to Cullinan's Effortless, Everywhere philosophy. Our super-luxury SUV is now as perfectly at ease in the serene surroundings of its owner's residence as it is in the most challenging and hostile terrain on Earth." He continued, "It demonstrates, and reminds us as a company, that Inspiring Greatness applies at every scale. It is not just about the big things: we seek and achieve greatness in everything we do, down to the smallest item and minutest detail."

Each model is hand-painted using Rolls-Royce color-matched paint, then hand-polished to the marque's exacting specification; the coachline is applied using a fine brush. That's the same process the full-sized Cullinan follows. Buyers can choose from a selection of over 40,000 exterior colors or replicate the bespoke paint job that is on the Cullinan that is under their porte-cochère.

The replica has fully functioning exterior lights that are operated by a Cullinan-branded remote control. Under the SUV's bonnet is a replica of the ‎iconic twin-turbocharged 6.75-liter V12 engine that powers the Cullinan.

Its interior is just as intricate as its exterior. There are coach doors that open to reveal illustrated tread plates. There is headrest embroidery, wood finishes, seat piping, and intricate stitching.

Owners get their model presented inside a display case that is nearly a meter in length. It's set on a gloss-black plinth. Rolls-Royce says that the Perspex window can be removed enabling the minutiae of the doors, luggage compartment and engine bay to be viewed in detail.

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Jaguar Land Rover sells high-powered and customized versions of its models for discerning customers.

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Want it faster? With more of a growl coming from the exhaust? Incredibly spacious? What you want are Jaguar Land Rover's range of Special Vehicle Operations (SV) models.

You're not alone, that aspect of JLR's business retailed over 9,500 high-performance and luxury SV products in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, up 64 percent from the previous year.

Range Rover Sport SVR Media Drive, March 2018 Models in the Special Vehicle Operations product line wear SV badging. Photo courtesy of Land Rover

"Despite a challenging sales environment for the automotive industry as a whole, we're delighted that the demand for Jaguar and Land Rover SV products continues to grow strongly, just five years after the division was first launched," said Michael van der Sande, Managing Director, Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations. "We currently have our broadest-ever range of models offering enhanced performance and luxury, each with its own distinctive personality that resonates with our customers."

The strong demand is well distributed. There are seven SV vehicles offered that have driven the growth, including the long wheelbase Range Rover SVAutobiography, which offers airline-style Executive Class seating, and the driver-focused 550-horsepower Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic.

JLR's best-selling SV SUV is the 575-horsepower Range Rover Sport SVR, which saw sales growth in its fifth year of production.

The company launched the 550-horsepower Jaguar F-PACE SVR and Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition in 2019.

To capitalize on markets primed for these models, JLR has rolled out SV Specialist Centers in the areas and dedicated SV areas at retailers. The company says that these retailers are specially trained to meet the needs of the SV customer base. SV Specialist Centers have already launched at 100 retailer sites globally, with more to follow.

"We've focused on satisfying demand for existing SV vehicles, while simultaneously expanding into new sectors with models such as the Jaguar F-PACE SVR, which instantly became our second highest volume vehicle," said Mark Turner, Commercial Director, Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations. "Developing the SV presence in the global Jaguar Land Rover retail network and on social media, in conjunction with SV Bespoke, is also having a positive effect on our business."

There's another page to the menu. The Special Vehicle Operations SV Bespoke department is available to customize the vehicles from tailoring paint color and finish to interior and exterior trim choices. This area of the business has seen a 20 percent growth in bespoke commissions and Premium Palette paint finishes for a selection of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles.

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